20 Household Items With Surprising Multipurpose Uses

20 Household Items With Surprising Multipurpose Uses

It’s easy to dismiss single-use household items—after all, they’re advertised as “one and done,” so why bother saving them? Well, a lot of those so-called single-use items serve far more functions than you think! Here are 20 everyday items to creatively reuse.

1. Newspaper

Combat smelly shoes by stuffing newspaper into your sneakers. You can do this in between uses or stuff them in the winter. The paper soaks in the moisture and thereby the odor. 

ShoesSJ 📸 on Unsplash

2. Empty Squeezable Bottle

Thoroughly clean out a condiment bottle and use it for pancake batter! You remove all the mess made by ladles and can reuse them as long as you want. Squeezable bottles also help you get every last drop into the pan.

Ella-Heineman-Dg5Ng4Kojw8-UnsplashPhoto by Ella Heineman on Unsplash

3. Old Towels

Old towels can easily be downgraded to cleaning rags. What makes these so great is that they’re washable and absorbent, which helps get stubborn stains out. 

Sven-Mieke-Bb3Dr-N5Npg-UnsplashPhoto by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

4. Toilet Paper Rolls

Don’t be so quick to recycle these—they’re perfect for cables! You can either feed wires through the roll or cut it lengthwise to stick directly onto the cables. They’re cardboard, too, which means easy labeling!

Isaac-Quesada-Wpfltzlfg3A-UnsplashPhoto by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash


5. Coffee Cans

Coffee cans are perfect for storage and DIY projects. Stick them in the garage to sort out nuts and bolts, or convert them into planters. Believe it or not, coffee cans also make great homemade birdfeeders!

Federico-Ramirez-4Jzrla7J--G-UnsplashPhoto by Federico Ramirez on Unsplash

6. Disposable Razors

Give disposable razors a second life by removing pilling with them. They work wonders on clothing with particularly thick fabric, like cardigans or wool coats. You don’t need any other tools either, and even razors at the end of their shower lives can still prove useful. 

Brett-Jordan-Slbpjexlseu-UnsplashPhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

7. Stained Mugs

Coffee-stained mugs may not be aesthetically pleasing, but that doesn’t mean they’re without purpose. If you can’t part with your favorite mug, turn it into a simple pencil holder. They won’t take up a ton of desk space and can live a second life as the cutest accessory. 

mediamodifier-gAUUqaI83b8-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Mediamodifier on Unsplash

8. Egg Cartons

Rescue small Christmas ornaments with egg cartons! You already know you can rely on them for ample protection, and now you won’t have to worry about broken glass next time you put up the tree. 

Alvina-Suhardjo-89Duflm7Fge-UnsplashPhoto by Alvina Suhardjo on Unsplash

9. Tissue Boxes

Place an empty tissue box on your bathroom counter as a DIY garbage. These little boxes are perfect for discarded cotton swabs or facial pads, allowing you to get quite a bit of use out of them. 

Diana-Polekhina-1Y8U4Imtqu0-UnsplashPhoto by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

10. Aluminum Foil

Did you know that you can scare away garden pests with a bit of foil? You can cover potted plants to keep away larger critters, like squirrels, or shred some into your mulch to handle insects.

Matthew-Moloney--9Snpi5-X8E-UnsplashPhoto by Matthew Moloney on Unsplash


11. Candle Jars

Remove that stubborn wax layer and give your candle jars another life! They’re wonderful storage for simple bathroom items like cotton balls or swabs. You can also stick makeup brushes inside.

Tyler-Nix-Fwerhcfalbc-UnsplashPhoto by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

12. Shoeboxes

Shoeboxes make for amazing storage. Of course, you don’t want 20 of them in the house, but one or two help organize everything from sewing supplies to jewelry. They’re also handy come Christmastime as perfect gift boxes.

Jaye-Haych-Ic6Nheti9U4-UnsplashPhoto by Jaye Haych on Unsplash

13. Toothbrushes

Old toothbrushes still have enough scrubbing power to tackle bathroom grime. Use them to scrub grout lines or get all that gunk behind faucets—it’s even better if you have an old electric toothbrush. 

Roman-Marchenko-Jlgiw2Adbxo-UnsplashPhoto by Roman Marchenko on Unsplash

14. Shower Curtain

Shower curtains can find new meaning as tarps or even windshield protectors, so don’t be so quick to discard them. Bring them camping with you to lay under your tent, or cut them to size and protect your windshield from frost.

Andrea-Davis-K8Tlrne61Dw-UnsplashPhoto by Andrea Davis on Unsplash

15. Old Socks

Stop spending money on dog toys! Your pup doesn’t need anything fancy to play with, which is where an old sock comes in handy. Tie a knot and use it for tug-of-war or fetch.

Nick-Page-Xmg8Gbznmga-UnsplashPhoto by Nick Page on Unsplash

16. Pill Bottles

Empty pill bottles can still save the day by housing additional first aid supplies—stick bandages, cotton swabs, or OTC medications inside. Resuing pill bottles helps you stay organized and safe.

Haley-Lawrence-Htttz00Wkzu-UnsplashPhoto by Haley Lawrence on Unsplash


17. Empty Jars

Empty jars belong in the kitchen, not the recycling bin. They can hold all kinds of items like bulk goods, spices, or even sauce you intend to freeze. After a thorough wash, they’d also make terrific DIY vases.

Ella-Olsson-Mv Fzxhwiog-UnsplashPhoto by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

18. Tennis Balls

Tennis balls are surprisingly versatile around the house—they childproof furniture if you wedge them onto sharp corners, can help remove scuff marks, and even reduce grime in pools. 

Ben-Hershey-Vew78A1Yz6I-UnsplashPhoto by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

19. Magazine Files

Do your Tupperware lids keep disappearing? Save yourself a headache down the road with a simple magazine file. They’re portable and slim, meaning they fit in most drawers or even atop counters. Place all your lids inside so you know exactly where to look next time.

Ello-Aeu9Uzstcfs-UnsplashPhoto by Ello on Unsplash

20. Pop Tabs

Convert pop tabs into picture hangers with just a screw and screwdriver. Place the tab on the back of the frame and  drive a screw through the tab’s smaller hole. You can then hang pictures with the bigger hole! 

James-Yarema-Qbgaueojoas-UnsplashPhoto by James Yarema on Unsplash